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RAY DOYLE

 


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Ray Doyle's "The Emigrant Trail" is a courageous, diverse statement and
an outstanding achievement. 
                                     
                   Rick Huff's Best of the West Reviews

Top musician, singer, and songwriter Ray Doyle's 2008 CD, The Emigrant Trail, has received wide airplay and wide acclaim.

Ray Doyle has appeared solo recently at top cowboy events, including: National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Elko, Nevada; Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering, Ellensburg, Washingon; Saddle Up!, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; and Cowboy Songs and Range Ballads, Cody, Wyoming.

For twenty-one years, Ray Doyle performed with Wylie & the Wild West. In 2011, he left the band to pursue his solo career and to perform with other artists.

Ray Doyle writes (2010):

I was born in Dublin, Ireland, and spent my early childhood there at a time when draught horses still shared the road with automobiles and bicycles. The coal we heated our house with was delivered by wagon, and “tinkers” carts came down our road to trade toys or a few pennies for jars, scrap metal, and other recyclables. I was very lucky to experience life in a thousand year old city where my aunt could raise a few pigs, and my family could have chickens and a large vegetable garden. The second part of my young life was spent in rural Ontario, Canada, where I spent hours wandering the fields and woods, developing a lasting love and appreciation of the natural world.

For the last twenty years I have traveled the American West, and beyond. Through Wylie & the Wild West I immersed myself in the life and lore of cowboy and Western culture. My goal is to keep experiencing the West with a newcomer’s point of view....to examine its beauty, history, challenges, and possibilities with fresh perspective. If I have a contribution to Western music, I think it’s through an exploration of the emigrant/immigrant experience. My solo CD, The Emigrant Trail is my first step on this path.

Read more about Ray Doyle below.

Below:

About Ray Doyle

Lyrics

Recordings

Contacting Ray Doyle

www.myspace.com/raydoylemusic

 


 

About Ray Doyle
photo by Jeri Dobrowski, 2008 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Elko, Nevada


Ray was born in Dublin, Ireland to a working class family and a rich cultural heritage. There was traditional Irish music and pop music on the radio and folk and “rebel” songs around the house. Tuning in to Radio Luxembourg, he got his first taste of American Country and Rock n Roll… Marty Robbins, Bill Haley, Elvis. After first emigrating to Canada, the family finally settled in Southern California.

Growing up near Hollywood had a big impact on Ray’s musical future. In high school he heard live bands for the first time. Surf and Latin Rock music were the order of the day. Dick Dale and the Deltones and Thee Midnighters both played his school. Ray attended concerts by his favorite bands… Beatles, Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and countless others. Working at a large record store in Hollywood during college opened up new musical frontiers. By the late seventies he was playing the L.A. honkytonk circuit and a few years later formed Reach for the Sky, appearing on the acclaimed compilation, A Town South of Bakersfield, which included up and comers Dwight Yoakam, Katy Moffatt and Rosie Flores. (Volume three of the album would include a cowboy named Wylie Gustafson.) The burgeoning Country and Cowpunk scene was expanding into rock clubs in Hollywood and Chinatown. The San Fernando Valley’s small circuit of clubs included the venerable Palomino, which became a sort of club house for the local musicians.

In 1987 and again in 1988 Ray was invited to the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas as a finalist in their songwriting competition. This led to many trips to Austin and Nashville over the next few years. In the fall of 1991 a chance meeting at the Palomino Club helped set a new course. Wylie Gustafson, a young yodeler from Montana was looking for a rhythm guitarist for his band. Wylie’s producer and lead guitarist Will Ray had played with Ray and recommended him for the job. For over twenty years, he was an integral part of Wylie & the Wild West. Playing electric, acoustic, baritone, and mando guitars, and singing harmony, he contributed to 12 CDs, countless live performances, music videos, and television appearances with the group. Touring extensively in the U.S., from clubs, saloons, and rural dancehalls to The Grand Ole Opry, Lincoln and Kennedy Centers and Cowboy Music and Poetry Festivals, the band developed an international appeal that took them to Europe, Australia, Japan, and Canada. In December 2006 they traveled to Brazil and Argentina in an exchange of cowboy culture, performing on television and in concert with popular gaucho musicians.

The year 2007 was exciting for Ray. While working on material for his second solo CD, The Emigrant Trail, he wrote a song for the Western Folklife Center’s Yellowstone and Tetons song contest. “The Jewel” was a winner and is included on both Ray’s The Emigrant Trail CD and WFC’s Deep West release, Songs of Yellowstone and the Tetons

Ray performs solo and with other artists. Recently solo appearances at top Cowboy events include: National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Elko, Nevada; Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering, Ellensburg, Washington; Saddle Up!, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; and Cowboy Songs and Range Ballads, Cody, Wyoming.

Recent awards include:

2008—WMA Cowboy Group of the Year (Wylie & the Wild West)
2007—Gold Award winner Western Folklife Center Yellowstone Song Contest
2006—WMA Swing Album of the Year (W&WW “Live at the Tractor”)
2005—AWA Will Rogers Award for Western Group of the Year (Wylie & the Wild West)
 


photograph by Lori Faith Merritt, www.photographybyfaith.com
2008 Western Music Association Festival


Lyrics

The Jewel

The Emigrant Trail

The Jigger Boss
 

 

The Jewel

There’s a place upon this good green earth
like nowhere else you’ve ever seen
where misty mountains soar above, majestic and serene
clear and gentle waters flow, past grazing elk and buffalo
like a picture from the past, inside a dream

But sleeping restless deep below the summer sun and winter snow
there lies a secret waiting to be told
and with a shudder and a rumble wakes,
as pulses race and timber shakes
like they did as mighty ages rolled

It’s the meeting of the water and the fire
a merging of a heaven and a hell
a land of wonder and surprise
where water flows up to the skies
a place of sulfur, smoke and ash
where god must surely dwell

If you believe in heaven high
then you should go before you die
and see the jewel we call Yellowstone

If I could paint a canvas right
like Remington or Russell might
you’d see my little picture bright and true
But I’ve just got words to close the deal
a piece of wood and strings of steel
this postcard sent with love, from me to you

It’s the meeting of the water and the fire
a merging of a heaven and a hell
a land of wonder and surprise
where water flows up to the skies
a place of sulfur, smoke and ash
where God must surely dwell

If you believe in heaven high
then you should go before you die
and see the jewel we call Yellowstone
and see this jewel we call Yellowstone

© 2007, Ray Doyle, All rights reserved; from The Emigrant Trail
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
 



The Emigrant Trail

I was born in Kilkenny, one of the many
the ones who left homeland, family and friends
with a desperate notion to cross the wild ocean
for a brand new beginning or a desperate end

At thirty days sailing came the wind and the wailing.
the sea was a churning, black, bottomless well.
Mid the moaning and screaming I wished I was dreaming.
we might as well have been all going to Hell

Who will be sacrificed? Who will be saved?
Who is foolhardy and who are the brave?
Many may perish, but some will prevail.
There’s hope at the end of the Emigrant Trail

I came to your city for work, not for pity
and not to be told my kind “need not apply”
So I labored in slavery, saved what they gave me,
And rode my own horse to Montana’s big sky.

I'd heard every story of riches and glory…
At the grand Anaconda a man could go far.
But soon I had traded my pride and my wages
For faro and opium, brothel and bar.

Who will be sacrificed? Who will be saved?
Who is foolhardy and who are the brave?
Many may perish, but some will prevail
There’s hope at the end of the Emigrant Trail

I fought off my troubles with picks and with shovels,
in mines and in trenches from Dublin to Butte.
Now it’s hard to believe in the Garden of Eden
while helping the Devil to harvest his fruit

Who will be sacrificed? Who will be saved?
Who is foolhardy and who are the brave?
Many may perish, but some will prevail
There’s hope at the end of the Emigrant Trail

© 2007, Ray Doyle, All rights reserved; from The Emigrant Trail
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

View a video of "The Emigrant Trail" at YouTube.
 



The Jigger Boss

Chorus
Dig, me boys, and shout hooray
the jigger boss is on his way
We’ll get an extra dram today
and nothing if we dally

They promised that they’d pay us well
to dig a bloody great canal
from the Hudson to the gates of Hell
all down the Mohawk Valley

(chorus)

We hoist the hod and swing the pick
‘til mouth is dry and tongue is thick
The water only makes us sick
and so they give us whiskey

Remember what the foreman said
the cholera will kill you dead
So if you want to live instead
you’d better drink your whiskey

(chorus)

Another hour, another sup
a dirty jug, and an old tin cup
Enough to keep our spirits up
from Hudson to Lake Erie

We work in heat we work in snow
and every twenty feet we go
We plant three men six feet below
all down the Mohawk Valley

(chorus)

© 2007, Ray Doyle, All rights reserved; from The Emigrant Trail
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 



Recordings

 

The Emigrant Trail


(2008)

Includes:

The Emigrant Trail  by Ray Doyle
The Cowboy Life  traditional; arranged by Ray Doyle
The Great Divide  by Ray Doyle
The Jigger Boss  by Ray Doyle
The Vaquero Song  by Dave Stamey
Mick Ryan's Lament  by Robert Emmett Dunlap
The Water is Wide  traditional; arranged by Ray Doyle
Tennessee Stud  by James Driftwood
Rosalba  by Ray Doyle
The Jewel  by Ray Doyle
Canadian Railroad Trilogy  by Gordon Lightfoot; arranged by Ray Doyle

Produced by Harry Orlove and Bob Rice
Mixed and mastered by Bob Rice for NGP Prod.
Recorded at Masterpeace Prod., Torrance, Calif.
Engineers: Warren Paine and Warren Tarbell
Additional Recording:
Instrumental overdubs
    recorded by Harry Orlove
Cowboy Celtic recorded at
    Rocky Mountain Recording, Calgary, Alberta
    (Produced by David Wilkie, engineered by Rob Smith)
Executive Producers- Maggie Kritzer and Larry Biehl
Art Direction & Design- Jeff Lancaster for LCG
Photos- Back cover and Tray- Dave Cibley
Cover and Disc- R. D.

Musicians
Harry Orlove- 6 & 12 string, high strung & baritone guitarrs,
     banjo (4) whistle (1) solos (2)
Dave Hall- bass, vocals (4)
Richard Paine- drums, vocals (4)
Mike Fried- dobro (2,3,8,11)
Gabe Witcher- fiddle (2,3,8,9)
Pat Cloud- banjo (11)
David Jackson- accordion (4,5,9)
Bob Rice- mandolin (10,11) guitar (10)
Warren Tarbell- vocals (4)
Ray Doyle- vocals, acoustic guitar
Cowboy Celtic Calgary Crew- (1,6,7,11)
  David Wilkie- mandolin, manola, mandocello
  Keri Zwicker- harp
  Tami Cooper- flute
  Joe Hertz- fiddle
  Nathan McCavana- bodhran
 

The Emigrant Trail is available from CDBaby and iTunes


Ray Doyle
P.O. Box 11954
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
ray@raydoyle.net


www.raydoyle.net

View a video of "The Emigrant Trail" song at YouTube.
 

 

  Reviews and commentary:

Rick Huff, Rick Huff's Best of the West Reviews:

Before hearing it I made an assumption about this album that couldn't have been further off. Emigrants? Irish? Cowboy Celtic's on hand for the recording? The Western Folklife Center's Yellowstone Song Contest winner "The Jewel" is here, and it's a calming poetic portrait. I figured sweet Western visions and thoughts of the Irish homeland. Wrong. This thing has teeth!

Disarmingly pleasant in its musical presentation, the words sneak up and chew on your conscience! Ray Doyle is a longtime player with Wylie & The Wild West, but here he takes his distinctive vocal delivery and goes off in directions Wylie never took, tackling a rough Western reality that is both dream and nightmare for many.  He draws on the experiences of more than just the Irish as shown in Dave Stamey's "Vaquero Song," "The Cowboy Life" (also called "The Dreary Life") and Gordon Lightfoot's "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." 

The title track sets things in motion, with the singer heading out "for a brand new beginning or a desperate end" on a sea that's "a churning, black, bottomless well 'mid the moaning and screaming..."  And yet still "there's hope at the end of the emigrant trail" unless you're caught digging the Erie Canal. There "The Jigger Boss" keeps men whiskeyed-up so they'll shun the cholera-causing water.  The dancing lyrics that bounce by include "every thirty feet we go, we plant three men six feet below, all down the Mohawk Valley!"  For me, the big stunner is "Mick Ryan's Lament," a Robert Emmett Dunlap song done to a dirge-like "Garryowen" about a ghostly Irish soldier's horror at what he did under Custer. Ray Doyle's The Emigrant Trail is a courageous, diverse statement and an outstanding achievement. All concerned should be commended.


Jeri Dobrowski, Cowboy Jam Session:

A recent arrival in my mailbox that I’m delighted to recommend is Ray Doyle’s The Emigrant Trail: a Journey West. The Dublin-born Doyle is familiar to fans of Wylie & The Wild West as Wylie’s longtime band leader. That alone says a lot, but Ray is a class act in his own right. This CD makes that point perfectly clear.

In liner notes, Doyle recounts his family’s journey aboard "an overcrowded ship for a turbulent nine-day voyage from Ireland." Eventually, they settled near the Hollywood Hills in California. While not biographical, the 11 tracks successfully condense the immigrant experience that is America, spanning both the continent and the centuries.

Doyle did a masterful job of selecting and choreographing the songs, which are a mixture of original compositions and traditional tunes, plus Jimmy Driftwood’s "Tennessee Stud," Gordon Lightfoot’s "Canadian Railroad Trilogy," and "The Vaquero Song" by Dave Stamey. From the gut-wretching title track to the lovely guitar instrumental "Rosalba," from Doyle’s award-winning Yellowstone National Park tribute, "The Jewel," to a mournful 7th Cavalry ballad set to a leisurely-paced "Garryowen," it’s a grand journey.

The tempo changes from track to track are smooth and effortless; the subject matter interesting and refreshing. A surprisingly educational "The Jigger Boss" is a fine example of the latter. And, yes, that’s Cowboy Celtic you hear on Doyle’s arrangement of "The Water is Wide" and several others.

Order The Emigrant Trail for $18 (postage included) from Ray Doyle, PO Box 661111, Mar Vista, CA 90066; ray@raydoyle.net. It would be wise to order two copies. It’s the type of CD you want to listen to again and again, and you won’t want to part with it once you’ve heard it.


CowboyPoetry.com:

An outstanding and original production, The Emigrant Trail, from Ray Doyle (of Wylie & the Wild West) is a rich listening experience. A perfect blend of the old and new in its writing and selections, it carries the sense of history, heritage, and adventure that is the story of many of the West's Irish and Scottish (and other) immigrants—and the greater story of America itself.  

As a child, Ray and his family left Dublin for Canada, and later settled in California, with the help of a Mexican-American family. A love of the American West has always been a part of Ray Doyle's life. He tells in the liner notes, "My journey began even before my family boarded an over-crowded ship for a turbulent, nine day voyage from Ireland. American movies brought the world of cowboys across the Atlantic, and my friends and I rode our imaginary horses in what we called 'The California Hills' near my home in Dublin..."

The carefully selected songs and thoughtful production reflect a clear and vast vision of the West. Widely known for his dazzling guitar work, The Emigrant Trail showcases Ray Doyle's equally-strong writing talents. He gives a warm, true voice to his original songs and to classics such as "The Cowboy Life," "The Tennessee Stud," Dave Stamey's "The Vaquero Song," and Gordon Lightfoot's "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." His own creations stand up to those pieces, starting with the impressive, complex title track and continuing to the "gem" of "The Jewel," a song that took one of the top places in the recent Western Folklife Center's Yellowstone song writing competition. Sparkling instrumental performancesmany by the incomparable Cowboy Celticinfuse the entire production with fine and uncommon quality. 

Ray Doyle's songs appear on U.S., Canadian, Australian, and European albums, and his band, "Reach for the Sky" is included on the important A Town South of Bakersfield album. His previously-mentioned song, "The Jewel," appears on the Western Folklife Center's Deep West Records' Songs from Yellowstone and the Tetons.

The Emigrant Trail was over a year in the making, and the entire project shows how that time was well spent on care and precision in production: the top-notch, original writing; the thoughtful selection of pieces; the superior musicians; the artful arrangement of songs; the intelligent liner notes; and the elegant package design. Perhaps what recommends it most is that it is not a one-time listen, but rather one of those rare albums for a listener to savor, many times over.


  The Western Folklife Center's Deep West Records' Songs from Yellowstone and the Tetons CD (2008) includes "The Jewel," by Ray Doyle (Gold Award winner in the songwriting contest) and additional songs. Other artists include Lyle Lovett, Jon Chandler, Skip Gorman, Connie Dover, Chuck Pyle, and others. Read more about the songs and the songwriters here at the Western Folklife Center web site.


  Reach for the Sky (2000) is Ray Doyle's previous solo release.  


 A Town South of Bakersfield (1988) includes Ray Doyle ("Same Old Fool"), Katy Moffatt, Dwight Yoakam, Lucinda Williams, and others.


   A portion of Ray Doyle's "The Jewel" is included in the 3rd edition (2009) of Janet Chapple's Yellowstone Treasures, in the "About the Author" section. Find more about the book here.
 


See our feature about Wylie & the West for information about many recordings that include Ray Doyle.

 



Contacting Ray Doyle
 

 

 Ray Doyle
P.O. Box 11954
Costa Mesa, CA  92627


 

www.RayDoyle.net

www.myspace.com/raydoylemusic

 

 

 

www.cowboypoetry.com

 

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